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Parents awarded $3 million from doctor in newborn's death

Aug. 26, 2006 - The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Joshua Elmy died two days after birth. Lawsuit alleged doctor used "such great force" with forceps that he fractured the infant's skull.

By DAVID WEISS

WILKES-BARRE - The parents of an infant who died two days after a doctor used forceps while delivering the boy were awarded $3 million in a lawsuit settlement Friday.

Robert and Renee Elmy, the parents of Joshua Elmy, were awarded the settlement from Dr. Michael Miller.

The couple, now living in Florida, filed suit in February against Miller and Geisinger Health System.

According to the suit filed in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas by Hourigan, Kluger, and Quinn law firm:

On Aug. 28, 2005, Renee Elmy was admitted to the Plains Township hospital and underwent routine labor procedures administered by hospital nurses before Miller and another doctor took over.

After several hours of labor, Elmy on Aug. 29 was "pushing with Miller applying forceps" for about 20 minutes.

But Miller used "such great force" with the forceps that he fractured the infant's skull and ruptured the liver, causing "massive bleeding with ensuing complications."

Joshua Elmy was born at 4:20 a.m. Aug. 29. But there was no pediatrician at the hospital to care for the baby upon delivery.

He was taken to a special-care nursery where he was noted to be "pale ... with minimal activity, decreased muscle tone, and molding of his head."

A pediatrician was called and arrived at 4:45 a.m. The pediatrician noted the boy "suffered trauma to the face and left-neck area as a result of his forceps delivery." He suffered four seizures in the first 15 minutes of the pediatrician's arrival and abdominal bleeding.

He was later taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and placed on life support, which was discontinued at the suggestion of doctors.

The suit was assigned to go to trial but attorneys negotiated the settlement with Miller. The other defendants were dropped from the suit as part of the settlement agreement.

The settlement, approved Friday by Judge Mark Ciavarella, calls for Hourigan, Kluger, and Quinn to receive more than $1.2 million of the settlement for fees and costs.

Attorney Joseph Quinn declined comment Friday afternoon. Miller was on personal leave, an office worker said, and unavailable Friday afternoon.